Black Friday Shopping? Please. Get A Life.
This year I almost bit (it).
And I'm kinda embarrassed.
Thanksgiving is a day I like to spend reflecting on what I am grateful for in my life -- a whole lot--and, duh, eating. Instead, I came outstandingly close to gobbling my dinner, leaving the dishes piled up in the sink and hightailing it to the nearest Connecticut big box, to wait outside for hours, like a loser, in a Black Friday line.
At 6pm on Thanksgiving Thursday.
'Cause all of that just really screams me.
Trust. I'm not in need of holiday gifts. I've already said, thanks, but no thanks, to the sad hyped up machine o' consumerism that brings Christmas to a retail outlet near you 'round September. I was in need of something way bigger.
A new TV.
Our current viewing situation? Literally, a 'tube'. Stop laughing. We had the outstanding good fortune of replacing our hardware just as prices came down on HD units. Remember the days when they used to cost close to a grand? Me too.
But now we're ten years out. With a 27 incher that refuses to bite the big one. Truth be told, we'd probably continue to suck it up, if involuntary picture cropping hadn't become part of our reality. Never witnessed this phenomenon? Few have been so lucky.
The skinny: Apparently, since 2009, the 16:9 aspect ratio has reigned supreme as the measurement of choice around the world for HDTV programming. Our boob tube? Not exactly wide screen friendly. Consequently, we're clearly missing some info with our viewing. How much? No one knows for sure. And that joke has gotten old.
So when I heard, recently, that Black Friday circulars were available on-line for my browsing pleasure, nearly two weeks before the big event, I decided to check out the options. You know. Research and all.
And, indeed, there I saw it. A 32-inch HDTV advertised for less than a Benjamin. Granted, I had never heard of the name brand. Ever. But with a price so low that we could even pay cash, I thought about going to check that bad boy out in person.
Until I abruptly returned to my senses.
It was the actual Black Friday theme song on the site that irritated me first. (Seriously AC/DC? Did you really just sell out like this.) And then I methodically started the calculations: How many hours would I have to stand outside? In the Northeast chill? I estimated four. Which, depending on the weather could quickly feel like eight (teen).
What time would I have to eat dinner? Around noon. Or 8 PM, if I still had an appetite.
And the big one: Why in the hell was I doing this to myself?
I'm a shopper. A good one. I know the actual price of things, as well as the value. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the real key. So I started investigating the specs of this TV to even see if it was really worth it. That'd be a negative. The resolution wasn't up to par, nor was it a Smart TV. I browse on.
The truth of the matter? No matter what lies you're telling to yourself, I don't think Black Friday is about shopping at all. The internet provides amazing opportunities, with coupon codes AND free shipping. No one stands out in the cold, or gets trampled, and you can save a huge amount of cake.
In fact, I'd go as far to argue that Black Friday is all about frantic fake anticipation--best served to the millions of people who don't have any means to generate excitement in their daily lives--by big business. A Sisterhood of Shopping if you will, that every single year, millions of already cash strapped people fall for.
Hate on me if you want, but I know Black Friday is all about living on the edge, for those who never take the opportunity in their everyday lives. It's about doing something crazy, like waiting in line while it's still dark and rest of the world is asleep. It's about the adrenaline that comes from rushing inside after the doors are unlocked. Like a way sadder Running With The Bulls--only the prize is an overloaded bin of $1 fleece scarves.
I don't want any part of that. Ever, but especially this year, as Black Friday blurs into Turkey Thursday and more givens, like the once simple concept that everyone, even minimum waged retail workers, could enjoy a whole day of rest with their families, get eroded by greed.
This Thanksgiving, I am outstandingly thankful to live in Rhode Island, where our blue laws restrict retail store openings on Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Yay to you Massachusetts and Maine for also continuing the tradition.) Because these so called bargains? They're costing all of us way way more than you even realize.